UN warns of dire lack of aid money for Haiti

UNITED NATIONS,  (Reuters) – The United Nations warned yesterday that a lack aid money for Haiti was putting hundreds of thousands of displaced people at risk by forcing humanitarian agencies to cut services in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Haiti received only about half of the $382 million in aid money requested last year and so far less than 10 percent of the 2012 appeal for $231 million has been funded, Nigel Fisher, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Haiti, said in a statement.

“(Underfunding) threatens to reverse gains achieved in the fight against cholera through the promotion of sanitary and hygiene practices,” he said. “It threatens the very existence of hundreds of thousands of (displaced people) living in camps.”

Haiti is still struggling to lift itself from the rubble left by an earthquake two years ago that killed roughly 300,000 people and left more than 1.5 million homeless. Despite billions of dollars pledged by donors to help rebuild, reconstruction efforts remain slow with only incipient signs of some progress.

“Almost half a million people still live in camps, exposed to cholera outbreaks and risks of flooding that will be exacerbated by the upcoming rainy and hurricane season from May to November,” Fisher said.

A cholera outbreak has sickened more than half a million people and killed more than 7,000 since October 2010. Some Haitians have accused Nepalese U.N. troops of sparking the epidemic after their camp latrines contaminated a river.

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